Margaret, a Literary Chanteuse

Recently a reader posted reviews for each of my novels. In one review she said she’d read the two novels back to back over the weekend, about 170 000 words. Apart from being highly delighted with the positive reviews, I was amazed someone could read so quickly. I’ve always been a slow reader, forcing myself to read quicker but after an hour or so I’m usually distracted. I read about a book a month. But having said that, the work of writing involves reading, and re-reading, and re-re-reading ad infinitum. A novel is finished when I can recite it and know the page number of a certain scene.

I looked around at more of Margaret’s reviews and found she does read a hell of a lot. I was intrigued to find out more and thought I’d interrupt her page turning with some questions.

Margaret lives in Mission, BC, Canada and left school after grade 12 of High School. She’s now a stay-at-home Mom with a 6 and 3 year old and reads two to four books a week. Gads! Whilst having clearly eclectic tastes, she says her main genres are Chick lit, historical fiction and memoirs.

I first asked her at what age she read her first novel?
“I was about 7 or 8. It was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

What does reading represent to you? What do you get out of it?
“It’s an escape. You can go anywhere in a story, like a dream. It’s a mini vacation without leaving my house.”

What do you think of the recent proliferation of Indie fiction, aided and abetted by e-publishing?
“I think it’s a positive thing. It certainly gives the opportunity for many who may not have been able to get their book published otherwise.”

Do you think the quality of writing has suffered as a result of the removal of the traditional publishing route; writer, editor, publisher, marketing department etc.
“I do think the quality is still out there. A polished product doesn’t always guarantee it’s better quality.”

Why do you write reviews?
“I like to let others know about a book that I enjoyed and it also helps out the authors, especially self-published and I like doing my part to help.”

Where do you publish your reviews?
“Many online sites: Goodreads, Shelfari, Librarything, Indigo and Amazon as well some of these are attached to google+,facebook and twitter.”

A lot of reviewers use their reviews as the corner stone of their own websites. You don’t have your own website.
“I’ve often considered starting one but convince myself that I just don’t have the time to dedicate to it as well as not being very computer savvy. Perhaps some day…”

I’d imagine frank reviews might rub some writers and readers up the wrong way. What have the responses to your reviews been like?
“Mostly positive which I am grateful for. I have only once had an author question my review rating not the actual review which was fine. I think the author was simply after feedback.”

And the other string to your bow, neatly configure in you internet avatar, Margaret Literary Chanteuse, is singing. How does the singing fit in to your life?
“Well, these days it doesn’t much. I was in pursuit of a career in music and still do sing. Music has always been my first love and something that is natural to me. I’ve been singing all my life. I have been in countless bands, recorded, performed etc. but these days being a Mom and wife have come first.”

So that first book you read, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, what did you think of it?
“Loved it.”

You can find Margaret and her reviews at:






  1. I share your admiration for Margaret’s reading and reviewing accomplishments! I am amazed at how many books she manages to read, and that she is gracious enough to take the time to review such a large number of them. Like you, Greg, I manage one, maybe two books a month (or more if I’m on vacation) – if I read more, I naturally have less time to write – although one of my dreams is to be trapped in a huge library for an extended period of time with nothing to do but read!


    1. Thanks for your comment – When people talk of “writer’s block” mine is mostly not having enough time. I some times wonder what it would be like to write with all the time in the world. It’s like I have to be forced to make time work efficiently. THen I block out everything and work well. I guess the fact is there is always something else that could be done. And people like Margaret do so much good by posting their reviews. They are so helpful. Good luck with your writing.

  2. Glad to know more about Margaret. Thanks, Greg! Unfortunately, I’m not a fast reader either. Though I’m always reading/writing something most of the time.
    Now, for instance, I’m finishing correcting and assessing my students’ works and just needed a break. It can’t be exhausting, especially when they are not very good and their handwriting is …impossible!
    Have a nice weekend you both! MG

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